Well grease and lightly flour a 1-1/2-quart tower mold or a 1-1/2-quart casserole. Set aside.
For pudding, in a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat sugar and shortening with an electric mixer on medium speed until light. Beat in eggs and molasses. Add flour mixture; beat until just combined. By hand, stir in cranberries. Pour into prepared mold or casserole.
Cover mold or casserole with foil, pressing foil tightly against the rim of the mold or casserole. Place on a rack in a deep kettle. Add boiling water until water reaches 1 inch above the bottom of the mold or casserole. Cover kettle. Bring to a gentle boil. Steam for 3 to 3-1/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Add more boiling water, if necessary.
Cool for 10 minutes. Unmold the pudding and cool for 30 minutes. Serve warm pudding with warm Hard Sauce. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
To make ahead, wrap and store cooled pudding in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To reheat before serving, wrap pudding in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until heated through.
In a heavy medium saucepan, cook and stir sugar, half-and-half or light cream, and butter until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in vanilla. Serve the sauce warm with the pudding. Makes 1-1/2 cups sauce.